Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine sold to new media firm from former Disney execs ' TechCrunch

Hello Sunshine, a Reese Witherspoons media business that produced content for streaming services such as Hulu, Apple, and HBO, was sold to an unnamed media company run by former Disney executives, Kevin Mayer, and Tom Staggs. The company announced this morning.The Wall Street Journal reported the sale for the first time.Although the terms of the deal were not disclosed by The WSJ, it is believed that Hello Sunshine's business was sold for around $900million. The news outlet previously reported that Hello Sunshine was considering a sale after being approached by a variety of suitors including Apple.Hello Sunshine was founded by Witherspoon, Strand Equity founder and managing Partner Seth Rodsky in 2016. It is most well-known for producing series such as HBOs Big Little Lies and Hulus Little Fires Everywhere.The company also invests in media and film projects such as the Facebook Watch series or collaborations with Amazons Audible. The company has upcoming TV and film projects with Starz, Amazon, ABC, Starz and Starz. Recently, it announced a Kids & Animation Division and the acquisition of Sara Reas SKR Production in order to expand into unscripted content.Reeses Book Club is an online and mobile book club that has 2.1 million members. Many of the club's most popular picks are used in the movies and shows Hello Sunshine later makes.According to Hello Sunshines' announcement, this company will be the first purchase by the media venture managed by Mayer and Staggs. The venture is backed privately by Blackstone. According to The WSJ, the firm will spend more than $500 million in cash on Hello Sunshine shares from its investors Emerson Collective and AT&T.The senior management team will continue to manage Hello Sunshine's day-today operations after the deals are closed. Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine Chief Executive Sarah Harden, and significant equity holders will be joining the board of the new company.Hello Sunshine will be a keystone of the strategy for new media companies. This will include being an independent creator-friendly home for cutting edge, high-quality brands and franchises.Hello Sunshine is celebrating a significant moment today. This company was started by me to change how women are seen in media. Our mission has been a success over the years through books, TV, film, and social media. We are taking a major step forward today by partnering Blackstone which will allow us to tell more engaging, meaningful and illuminating stories on women's lives around the world. In a statement, Witherspoon said that she couldn't be happier about what the deal means for her future.This deal comes at a time of increased consolidation in the media industry, as companies adapt to the move away from traditional TV and standard movie releases towards the ever-on worlds of streaming and cord cutting. Amazon announced in May that it would purchase MGM Studios for $8.45 Billion. This deal is currently being investigated by FTC for possible antitrust concerns. WarnerMedia and Discovery announced plans to merge their operations in an attempt to grab a larger share of the streaming market. Comcast and ViacomCBS have begun to explore ways of working together.As traditional media companies stream content, such as NBCU's Peacock, they also license content to other streamers like Netflix. This drives the demand for independent programming like Hello Sunshine.Its quality projects are what make the company stand out in this market. Many of these projects have been pre-vetted and approved by book club members who act as an audience and fan base for later films or televised releases. It also backs projects that tell women's stories, a segment that has been neglected in the past and for which Hello Sunshine's success is a testament to the demand.Blackstone's investment in the company is made through its private equity division, which had previously bought a majority share in Bumble. Blackstone has also made investments in the entertainment industry, such as SESAC, a music rights organization; a Hollywood studio space, Burbank office real property portfolio; global theme park operator Merlin Entertainments,, Vungle, Liftoff, and Epidemic Sound which delivers music to internet content creators.